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REVIEW | STRANGER THINGS season two

ReviewSteve Molk

Dustin, Mike, Lucas & Will
Image - Netflix

Nearly a year after the event things are no less strange in Hawkins, Indiana.

Will (Noah Schnapp) is suffering PTSD-style flashbacks to his time in the Upside Down and it's causing his friends Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) & Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) to be really worried about him. Their new friend and escaped lab experiment Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is still living a life of self-imposed exile in the Upside Down as the last line of defence from the demogorgon and all that would invade to pillage and destroy.

Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is being pulled pillar to post with some super crazy stuff happening to the local pumpkin crops, and Will's mum Joyce (Winona Ryder) is increasingly concerned with the support he isn't getting from his counselling sessions.

The arrival of Max (Sadie Sink), with her older brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery), has a couple of the boys looking at girls a whole lot differently ("Girls don't play video games!" "This one does."), and there's a dark overtone that a larger, more sinister entity threatens those that survived the original incident.

Halloween 1984 is going to be a crazy time for everyone.

STRANGER THINGS season two continues to hit 80's references hard and in the best way. The series that's part-"Ghostbusters"/part-"ET: The Extra Terrestrial"/part-"Stand By Me" offers an intense and involved story of other worldly creatures seeking to destroy mid-western America with all the hope and promise of a Reagan/Bush ticket in the upcoming election.

The original cast returns (vale Barb) hand-in-glove with their characters, allowing us to enjoy the nostalgic setting mixed with the pleasant familiarity of our friends who previously faced supernatural demons and survived. It's not without some fallout, and early on we learn that which we expected isn't quite the way it actually is.

The addition of Max to the boy's group causes all the right tension and delivers the delightful notes of puberty and jealousy that mix in its initial stages. Bob Newby (Sean Astin) as Joyce's boyfriend is both gentle and warm in a difficult role - both character and actor - as he works to embed himself in a tough family environ and a close cast. The light touches of Bob with Will are honest and his job at the local Radio Shack couldn't be more perfect for our team of protagonists.

Paul Reiser is pragmatically creepy as Dr Owens, whose responsibilities include interfacing with Will and his Mom post the event, keeping the science facility on the edge of town running, and ensuring all knowledge of the Upside Down is mined for all its worth.

Clear your weekend. Blank your schedule. Grab your friends and secure your places on the couch. All nine episodes of this sequel series deserve your full and immediate attention. STRANGER THINGS has a place in modern pop culture not just because it's great TV, but because it's a compelling story interwoven with the unique and bizarre - all while keeping it very, very real.

Stranger things is just so damn good.

 

STRANGER THINGS S02 (9 eps) -
Premieres Friday 27/10 5pm AEST on Netflix.

Season one available now.